Do you use the serenity prayer?

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Yes, I’m realizing that I have used this almost daily for decades. The art is finding the wisdom to know what you can’t change and what you can. Using the four voices to explore those issues is very helpful for me. When stuck, sometimes I just leap right to the action version, “Do something you can do something about!”

Do you teach your techniques?

Not formally. Yes, informally, by modeling their use.

Most successfully thus far with the committee metaphor and use of the we voice. I know a person gets it when they reflect the technique back.

My physician now often asks me what the committee or “Dr. Larry” thinks about a medical issue.

When discussing a difficult decision I faced with a friend, she said, “Well, I think you need to have a committee meeting on that!”

Met an acquaintance struggling with a personal life choice. Said to him, “It’s sort of like you have a committee of parts that make up the whole of you. Hold a committee meeting. Let each part or view have a voice. Work it out as a group.” Sometime later he approached me a let me know hat he had reached a decision and all the ‘committee members’ were on board.

This also illustrates how you can be helpful to someone by offering a practice, not a content solution.

If you want to contact me, use surfer100 at hotmail dot com, or leave a comment.

How can I change habitual thought patterns and behavior?

Short answer: identify the cue, routine, and reward and change the routine.

Several days ago I was mindfully reviewing my daily life patterns while in the we voice. Clearly one of my patterns, let’s him News Guy, was dominating a large part of the day incessantly checking Internet news, but without any actual benefit to the whole of us, of me.

The change procedure was to mentally rehearse a new routine. And when the internal urge hit again I went straight to the Internet…but spent a couple of hours instead studying some meditation texts. Lovely switch of routine. Now News Guy is still a part do “we” and “I” and but perhaps not so dominant.

Google Charles Duhigg’s new book The Power of Habit for all the details. Very helpful for self directed personal change, and another one for the toolkit!

Faster EFT: “I release and let go of…”

The set up phrase for Faster EFT is “I release and let go of….[insert negative memories, feelings, beliefs etc].” Accompanied by tapping, or mental tapping, or no tapping.

I used it last night on uncomfortable sensations in the mid core area and after a few short rounds got a state of warmth and peace. So much so that the non dual state of bare sensory awareness emerged from the background with no effort or conscious intent. Sweet, indeed.

Of course I modified the set up phrase to include all four voices. “I release….we release…this body releases…impersonal thought and mind releases…” Then devoted one or more rounds to each.

Robert Smith is the creator of this specific technique, an NLP variation as I understand it. See http://www.fastereft.com and his many videos on YouTube for much more detail.

This set up phrase is a definite addition to the pragmatic practitioner’s toolkit of self-directed personal change techniques!

UPDATE: For even faster EFT, I now may use the set up phrase without pronouns. Just say “Releasing and letting go of ….etc.”

UDATE 2: Add in rapid eye movement while saying “releasing…letting go….” while keeping mindful attention on the uncomfortable sensations. I just did that and got even quicker releases followed by new, conscious, creative thoughts. Another great combo technique for the toolkit!

Can internal dialogue influence compassion and eye patterns influence attention?

At the airport I saw a very short person in front of me in the security line.  My instant gut feeling was one of difference, slight fear, and ‘not me.’  As an experiment I then switched the internal dialogue to the we voice.  Still gazing on the same person in front of me, it became: “We are all human beings and we really do come in all sizes and shapes.  Wonderful and amazing fact!”  An immediate and significant shift in perspective and feeling tone from a simple pronoun shift in the internal dialogue. 

On the plane the flight attendant started into her safety riff and my eyelids started drooping and I almost fell instantly asleep.  An idea popped into awareness.  Start moving those eyeballs in rapid eye movement (REM), left and right, up and down, round and round. Almost instantly free attention perked up and I was able to listen to the same presentation I have heard a thousand times, as if it were fresh.   A good speculation is that the conscious addition of rapid eye movements forces the usual neural circuits that process the incoming auditory and visuals to operate differently.  Interestingly, the moment I stopped the REM the drooping eyelids and boredom resumed.  A temporary but not permanent pattern shift in this case.

No conclusions, but shifting internal dialogue and using REM can be implemented anywhere and anytime to get fresh perspectives and new takes on habitual responses.  

I am holding the creative intention that this brain will find each day even more unexpected and delightful ways to change patterns for kinder, more effective, and happier living.

What did you learn at Buddhists Geek 2012?

Most of the participants listed themselves as ‘Hybrid’ or had no designation (like me). Only some identified themselves as ‘Buddhist.’   All the several dozen participants I met and all the presenters were clearly active meditators and all could be described as, at minimum, ‘Buddhist Friendlies’ (my terminology). 

Steven Batchelor, one of the key presenters, described ‘Do It Yourself Buddhism.’  In the well known metaphor, the dharma is the boat that helps a practitioner get over the river to reach enlightenment.  Batchelor advocated using whatever is available to construct your own raft. He also advocated training in a specific tradition first, which I have not done and am not likely to do at this point.  Nonetheless, I resonated with his description of the DIY process, and realized that this blog and its trail of ideas, techniques, and values represents my still evolving ‘Do It Yourself’ meditation practice.  

I also realized from talking to several participants who have changed traditions that even a hard core traditional path follower is still a ‘DIY’ practitioner in two respects.  Only the practitioner can do it, no one else can.  And if one tradition doesn’t work out, at least in our culture, participants can and will switch to another, or start their own ‘DIY’ practice.

This wonderful group is lead by Vince Horn.  He has done over 250 podcasts interviewing Buddhist teachers, writers, and researchers.  For more information, go to buddhistgeeks.com.  I already purchased a ticket for next year’s conference.  This is a highly recommended resource for seekers of all backgrounds.